I think it was two weeks ago a client from the photo store I work for came in and told me the book store across the street had a really nice book about a collection of Daguerreotypes originating from the Netherlands. I thanked him for the heads-up and planned to look up the book as soon as I had my lunch break. He offered to check for me if the book was still in stock. Ten minutes later he returned with what looked to be a book wrapped in gift paper. It was that specific book 🙂
It turned out to be a book on a collection of Daguerreotypes from one single family; Family Enschedé from Haarlem NL. They were able to trace 100 daguerreotypes, of which 81 are part of the collection of the Museum Enschedé in Haarlem and 19 still reside in the family’s hands, including a lot of letters going back and forth from different relatives in the family. With the help of these and additional diaries and account books they were able to trace these daguerreotypes back to this family, and even in great lines who was portrayed by which photographer. They have discovered and preserved a well-organised family archive which actually is one of the biggest photographic collections in the world of one single family.
The fascinating part here is that the preserved daguerreotypes are from the actual beginning of the invention of this process. Through their letters it becomes clear that this new miracle really is very special in the eyes of a lot of people and that certain members of the family make efforts in learning and working with this very process themselves which results in quite a bit of home-made daguerreotypes.
There’s also a chapter in this book dedicated to the technical aspects of this particular process and restoration of the images. All of the 100 daguerreotypes have been displayed in the catalogue section of the book with a proper description, as complete as was possible. Interesting!
One of the other books I came to finally finishing is “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger. Recommended to me when I was studying photography I immediately bought it but started reading it years later haha, and finished it past week. It’s an interesting book, have to read it again and try to read it all in one go (it’s not huge) but presents a different way of looking at things: art, oil paintings in relation to (modern) advertising, the presence of women (albeit nude or not) and how this differs from the presence of men and publicity. An interesting read, worthy of re-reading as I’ll probably notice more relations etc. during a second seeing.
I’ve also ordered another book, also touching the subject of ways of seeing: “Beeldspraak” from Ton Hendriks (thanks John for the heads-up!). More on that later 🙂